There are some wedding cakes that take dessert to a place of "wow!" and nothing could be more true of Sylvia Weinstock’s legendary wedding cakes. As a dessert designer to the stars, Weinstock has created confectionery statements for a host of celebrities and A-listers from Oprah, Robert De Niro, the Trumps, J.Lo, and Kim K. to the Kennedys, Clintons, and more. Her cakes have traveled around the world, often take weeks to decorate, have stood 6 feet tall and, at $30-a-slice and up, some have rung in at a whopping $70,000. InStyle sat down with the original cake maven to get the scoop on what makes her cakes so special.
What’s your favorite flavor profiles and how does a Sylvia Weinstock cake differ from the rest?
My personal favorite is lemon cake with raspberry filling ... but my husband is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. That is probably the reason I encourage brides and grooms to select their own cake flavors and fillings so we can alternate tiers and everyone is happy. I would say that while some cake designers do beautiful art, and others do cake that tastes very good, you can count on our cakes to be both gorgeous and delicious.
What was the most extravagant cake you ever created?
Extravagant in look? Price? Size? Extravagance is in the eye of the beholder, so I've probably created quite a few.
What was the most unusual cake you can recall?
It was one of the most subtle, and least appreciated but in my mind amount the most elegant. A couple getting married at the New York Public Library had their monogram illuminated in an open book—the book, of course, was cake. It is one of my favorites.
Some sugar flowers take weeks to create. How many flowers do you typically create for a cake? How long does it take?
We never count the flowers on a cake ... rather, we add, and add, and add until it pleases the eye. That could be hundreds, or thousands. To put it in perspective, one artist can create 100 roses in a typical (40-hour) week. They are all individually hand-crafted.
How do you take a cake from a sketch to the serving plate?
We usually begin at design at the six month mark. The step-by-step process is, from the consultation and sketch, we bake, fill, ice, decorate. Sometimes this requires architectural design as well. Then comes the (sometimes tricky) business of delivery—some of the very tall cakes travel in several boxes and assembled on site.
Speaking of the business of delivery, celebrities and clients fly your cakes all over the world! How do you ensure that your delicate creations make it through security? What is the farthest distance a Sylvia Weinstock cake has traveled?
We are what are called "known, registered shippers." Our cakes travel in cargo, on nonstop flights which are often charter or private. The furthest distances? Probably Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.
1. Pretty in Pink
For a regal Waldorf Astoria wedding, designed by Preston Bailey, Sylvia created a cake
to play off the pink motif like all of the florals, and raindrop crystals were suspended from the ceiling. The filling is raspberry and strawberry in keeping with the "pinks" and the design matched fabric of the bride's gown.
2. Sweet Heights
This was for a Malibu, Calif., wedding, and the bride requested "something no one has ever seen
before!" "So we created a cake that was so tall that the bottom ring of the floral chandelier had to be removed to fit the cake beneath,? explains Weinstock. The flavors were a mixture of chocolate/raspberry tiers with lemon/coconut tiers.
3. Buttercream Dreams
What do you create for the family of a premier N.Y.C. chef? A cake with the most popular flavor selection: yellow cake with lemon/raspberry fillings! And Weinstock notes that all of her icing is Italian butter creme (according to her, “fondant is never used on a true Weinstock cake!”).
4. Eight is Great
For an extravagant Manhattan hotel wedding, Weinstock created a display of eight satellite cakes at the bottom to represent the eight years of couple's courtship.
5. White Decadence
This cake's white-on-white color palette was inspired by the flowers on the bride's gown. It has white
cake and coconut and strawberry fillings inside.
6. Something Blue
Another cake to match the bride—who wore a light blue gown—Weinstock’s cake was fully covered in hand-crafted, completely edible blue and white hydrangeas. Not to be outdone by its exterior, the mixed tiers featured two flavor profiles for guests to enjoy: almond/hazelnut and chocolate/salted caramel.
7. Ivory Tower
For the family of major New York real estate developer, Weinstock’s ivory-on-white eight-foot-tall masterpiece, mixed tiers of yellow/coconut/raspberry and yellow/blood orange.
8. Topsy-Turvy Cake
Weinstock loves this joyous, topsy-turvy cake, which she created for a 60th birthday celebration. The cake is frosted with tinted butter creme icing, is illuminated by sugar crystals, and features a variety of exotic orchids throughout the bouquet. Inside, the cake is almond torte with pistachio, vanilla, and apricot fillings.
9. Butterflies and Bows
Sylvia created this enchanting confection for an event at Bergdorf Goodman to celebrate a new designer. Adorned with colorful, handmade butterflies and bows, inside revealed decadent chocolate cake, with chocolate mousse and raspberry filling.
10. Spring Bouquet Cake
Sylvia created this "spring bouquet" cake for a New York wedding at the Four Seasons. Fillings and flowers coordinated in color, and inside, the scrumptious yellow butter cake featured layers of fresh key lime, raspberry, and blood orange.
Inspired by the embellishments of the bride's gown, Sylvia created a grand swirl of sugar flowers and hand-piped embroidery on the surface of this six-tiered wedding cake. Inside was yellow cake with a refreshing mélange of citrus flavors including blood orange, key lime and vanilla!